House of Leaves

House of Leaves

A blind old man, a young apprentice working in a tattoo shop, and a mad woman haunting an Ohio institute narrate this story of a family that encounters an endlessly shifting series of hallways in their new home, eventually coming face to face with the awful darkness lying at its heart....

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Title:House of Leaves
Author:Mark Z. Danielewski
Rating:
ISBN:038560310X
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:705 pages

House of Leaves Reviews

  • Jake Thomas
    Jun 23, 2007

    So there's a definite cult around this book, and I am one of the many who drank the Kool-Aide and never looked back.

    Here's a little anecdote that speaks to the possibilities of this book:

    I was an RA my junior and senior years of college. One year I had a good friend of mine living in my building, and upon one of her visits to my room I put The House of Leaves in her hand, telling her that she should read it. A couple of days later I was in my room, awake at some unholy hour due to my vampiric s

    So there's a definite cult around this book, and I am one of the many who drank the Kool-Aide and never looked back.

    Here's a little anecdote that speaks to the possibilities of this book:

    I was an RA my junior and senior years of college. One year I had a good friend of mine living in my building, and upon one of her visits to my room I put The House of Leaves in her hand, telling her that she should read it. A couple of days later I was in my room, awake at some unholy hour due to my vampiric sleep schedule, and there's a knock at my door. As an RA this is a rather unsettling experience. On the other side of that door could be a drug overdose, suicide attempt, food poisoning or any other host of problems we're warned about as RAs. So tentatively I open the door and am relieved to find that it is not some horrific medical emergency, but simply my friend. Except my friend looks haggard. Her hair is unkempt, there are bags under her eyes and she is slouched forward, breaking her usually quite nice posture. In her hand is The House of Leaves. We stand there, silently measuring each other up, and then my friend rears back and throws the book at me, then walks away. Such behavior is not terribly unusual for this friend of mine, so I make a note to ask about this later and then go back to bed.

    The next day I call up my friend and ask her what exactly was the deal. "I hadn't slept in two days," she said. "That damn book kept me awake. I couldn't finish it, I couldn't sleep with it in the room, I had to get rid of it. That book fucked me up." To this day she still can't bring herself to finish reading the book. And so.

    The book has an amazing way of crawling beneath your skin and taking root. When I read it my sleep schedule, already astoundingly bad, became even more irregular and bizarro. I started looking at things differently. The world changed. Not in any big way, but there was a definite shift, and that's the way this book works. It comes at you sideways. People who just see it as a gimmick, in my opinion, are trying to hit the book straight on when you just have to give into it. It's like music, which isn't surprising seeing as how Mark Z. Danielewski's sister is the recording artist Poe, who came up with her album Haunted in tandem with Danielewski's writing of House of Leaves.

    There are sections of this book I found so surprising and affecting that I had to put it down and give myself a minute to take in what I'd read and go over it in my mind. Every person I've ever met who has read this book has had something to say about it, something more personal than just "Oh yeah, I liked that," or "It's overhyped." There's a visceral reaction this book can elicit, and I find that fascinating.

    I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and she mentioned something David Mamet said once, something along the lines of "When you leave the theater wanting to discuss the play, that's a good play. When you leave the theater wanting to discuss your life and the world, that's art." I like that definition, and I think it applies to House of Leaves. Conversations about this book never stay on the book, they branch out into other areas and interests, they can't help but grow longer and deeper, not entirely unlike a five minute hallway.

  • Paul Bryant
    Sep 26, 2007

    It's like one of those very psychedelic albums from the late sixties, where they do all those funny stereo effects, and all that phasing or whatever it was called - all great fun but you still had to have good songs. As you'll know by now, "House of Leaves" has more tricks up its sleeve than you can shake Jacques Derrida at, but not enough tunes. There are two stories. One's about this, you know, uh, what can I say - house. Okay, all right, it's about the story of the book about the film about t

    It's like one of those very psychedelic albums from the late sixties, where they do all those funny stereo effects, and all that phasing or whatever it was called - all great fun but you still had to have good songs. As you'll know by now, "House of Leaves" has more tricks up its sleeve than you can shake Jacques Derrida at, but not enough tunes. There are two stories. One's about this, you know, uh, what can I say - house. Okay, all right, it's about the story of the book about the film about the house to be precise, but let's not overcomplicate things. The film at the centre of it all is called "The Navidson Record", and so is the book about it. And so is the book about the book about the film - STOP doing that! Hmmm - well, the house story is pretty good - yes, stolen from numerous genre horror books and movies, like

    No, not that one!! This one!

    but it's not bad, sufficiently interesting, even a little bit creepy. (But come on, by no means edge-of-seat keeps-you-up-all-night,

    Come on, dear, get a grip!! (actually I didn't know there was a remastered full color edition, what the hell is that?) - so I have to wonder about the

    from Brett Easton Ellis - he should get out more.

    )

    Now the story of the house is wreathed with hundreds of footnotes - even the footnotes have footnotes, we are in David Foster Wallace country, textually speaking - and I really liked them. They're a kind of deadly straight-faced parody of various kinds of commentators, some scholarly, some not. Very funny stuff, in a solemn, unsmiling way. Many intellectual jokes. Not much knockabout. But so far so good. However, and here's the downside, the footnotes are themselves encrusted with the random autobiographical jottings of the guy who supposedly discovered the

    . His writings comprise story number two, the tale of Johnny Truant. And it's dire. It's cringemaking. It's lame. It's stupid. I found the events of the spooky house more believable than I did the ludicrous cavortings of Johnny Truant - gratuitous sex, drugs, tattoo parlours, and existential angst by the bucketful. Channelling all the badboys he can think of, Bukowski, and that other fellow whose name I can't think of, and the other one, you know who I mean, yeah, him, Johnny Truant is inclined to spout off into pages of incomprehensible rantings at the drop of a tab, and it's just as interesting as someone describing their most brilliant acid trip, which is to say, it's really so so so tiresome. Eventually I gotta say that JT and his pal Lude and his sexual fixations and his loony mother and his fights and his whole depressed, defeated and miserable schtick just serve to capsize what was otherwise an interesting and almost bold satire.

    Final note : like the movie 2001 which in the last part goes JUST CRAZZZEEEE so this novel when you get to the heart of the spooky-ookums house horror goes CRAAZZEEEE with all this super-lunatic typography like the pages containing just one sentence or three words written back-to-front, or pages withone sentence going up at a slant (describing our hero surmounting an incline)

    and

    - I always enjoy this stuff, Alasdair Gray does it in Lanark and Janine 1983 and way back in the 50s Alfred Bester did it in his great sf novel Tiger Tiger - and then there's the photos and poems in foreign languages et etc - so anyway, given all of THAT, this is a 400 page book

    as a 700 page book. Still big, but not as big as you think. Which may just be a neat REVERSE metaphor for the house in House of Leaves itself. Damn!

  • Cloudhidden
    Nov 27, 2007

    Looking for a spooky book to read around Halloween I was recommended this book by several others on a message board I frequent. Quite a few people mentioned its brilliance and the fear it put in them.

    After reading it I could not disagree more.

    The story is this: a family moves into a home and begins noticing physical features of their house changing. They begin to investigate, which leads to a new doorway and hall appearing where there was not one. The husband, being a world class explorer and f

    Looking for a spooky book to read around Halloween I was recommended this book by several others on a message board I frequent. Quite a few people mentioned its brilliance and the fear it put in them.

    After reading it I could not disagree more.

    The story is this: a family moves into a home and begins noticing physical features of their house changing. They begin to investigate, which leads to a new doorway and hall appearing where there was not one. The husband, being a world class explorer and filmographer decides to document the new house and in doing so creates a documentary, ala "The Blair Witch Project." But the book has a couple stories within the story. It is written from the point of view of some young slacker who breaks into this dead old man's house and takes the notes for a book the old dude is writing. The book and all of these notes are his reactions to watching the documentary film.

    The old man's ramblings reads like a textbook, replete with tons of footnotes, fake references, poems, rantings. But we don't get to just read his reaction, or simply walk through the documentary, we have to suffer through the slacker's constant juvenile side stories and craziness.

    The premise is brilliant, and flipping through the book the first time, I was pumped at the prospect of the book. The effort Daniel put into this book is exhausting to say the least. This had to have taken countless hours for the detail to all of the fake references, quotes, drawings, and footnotes, but sadly at the center is a stupid story that goes no where.

    I was never scared, but rather annoyed. NOTHING seems to happen. And as soon as the story begins to move, we get a long winded worthless conversation from our main character.

    Nothing is ever explained, nor finalized. This is seriously one of the most boring, meandering, monotonous books I have read.

    While reading the book I found a message board dedicated to the book and its absolute greatness. It took all I had not to log in and question the taste and objectivity of these people, but if they like it, who am I to pee on them.

    I do not recommend this book, but if you do read it and turn out to enjoy it, please enlighten me as to what I missed as I fought falling asleep reading these boring passages.

  • Mickey
    Dec 14, 2007

    I wish there were someway that a sigh could count as a book review.

    House of Leaves is a really, really damn good story. It's about a guy named Johnny Truant who finds a manuscript in a dead man's apartment. Said manuscript is entitled

    . It's essentially a dissertation on a documentary of the same name, by and about a man named Will Navidson and his family. Navidson lives in a house that is larger on the inside than it is on the outside, sometimes only a small fraction of an in

    I wish there were someway that a sigh could count as a book review.

    House of Leaves is a really, really damn good story. It's about a guy named Johnny Truant who finds a manuscript in a dead man's apartment. Said manuscript is entitled

    . It's essentially a dissertation on a documentary of the same name, by and about a man named Will Navidson and his family. Navidson lives in a house that is larger on the inside than it is on the outside, sometimes only a small fraction of an inch larger, sometimes miles.

    After a quick bit of research Johnny figures out that the Navidson Record, and pretty much everything related to it, does not exist. Johnny becomes obsessed with the whole thing and it drives him crazy.

    I think it's a really great story. However,

    is the perfect definition of bullshit.

    You see, it's got an experimental narrative. People will tell you that it's hard to follow, but those are probably the same people who told you that the Matrix required multiple viewings to understand. The book is written by a fictional character named Zampano, he is the dead man I mentioned above in my synopsis of the story. Johnny Truant, who is more or less the books protagonist, chimes in via an introduction and constant foot notations that he's added to Zampano's work. Most of his foot notes however meander off into him rambling about things that have happened to him in his day to day life (mostly fucking a million super hot babes). It should also be noted that the Zampano character has made a retarded amount of foot notes. See, not

    complicated.

    What really got my goat here is all the goddamn, cutesy little "look how clever I am I"/"I'm a major in art and a minor in lit" bullshit. It starts off simple enough with that kind of stuff. Every time the word "house" comes up the text is blue, no matter what language (and there are several), no matter what. That's a kind of cool little thing, I'm ok with that, but then Danielewski decides that he's going to masturbate from page 119 to page 709. There are annoying text blocking boxes in the middle of about thirty pages that contain text in them that is so clipped and cut off that you can't read it. You have to turn the page sideways and upside down continuously for hundred page stretches at a time, and these pages tend to have a small paragraph at the very best (often times only one or two words), making you flip through the pages very fast. There are footnotes all over the fucking pages making it a big pain in the ass to know what you are supposed to be reading and in what order. Then at the end he has the fucking gall to imply that there are hidden messages encoded throughout the book and

    . It is a seriously frustrating book to read.

    There is no doubt that

    is extremely clever, and it's undoubtedly the most exhaustive work of fiction I have ever read. The foot notes alone, which I gather are 98% referencing material that does not really exist, are impressive. Danielewski really worked his ass off on this and it shows. I respect

    , I cannot stress how much I loved the story, but I pretty much hate the book.

    This book looks at you with this smug fucking smile on it's face, daring you to say that you don't like it, knowing that masses of people are going to go along with it because they don't want to look stupid. That's what this is. It's the fucking Radiohead of books. Well,

    , I am not stupid and I'm calling your bullshit. Fuck you.

  • Kim
    May 18, 2009
  • Stephen M
    Sep 19, 2010

    I think this just about sums it up:

  • Shovelmonkey1
    Sep 17, 2011

    This is not for you....

    Or maybe it is.

    House of Leaves is not an easy book to read. It will not only challenge your ability to hold a weighty tome at numerous different angles for prolonged periods of time as you endeavour to read text which is upside down, back to front and shoots vertically or diagonally up and down the page, but it will challenge your idea of what a novel is and how a novel should be presented.

    Normally I like to try and keep my reviews short. None of you (this is an assumpt

    This is not for you....

    Or maybe it is.

    House of Leaves is not an easy book to read. It will not only challenge your ability to hold a weighty tome at numerous different angles for prolonged periods of time as you endeavour to read text which is upside down, back to front and shoots vertically or diagonally up and down the page, but it will challenge your idea of what a novel is and how a novel should be presented.

    Normally I like to try and keep my reviews short. None of you (this is an assumption, but a fair one I think) want to endure an Nth to the power of ∞ monologue about a book. Generally requirements from a book review are fairly short; is the book good, bad or ugly? Does it contain anything that might engage you or enhance your appreciation or understanding of the spinning ball of rock to which you are currently standing upon/lying/clinging to? Is the person writing capable of injecting a heroin shot of humour into the sinewy arm of the review in order to elicit a subdued snort of mirth? This is my criteria anyway. Each to their own.

    I’ll begin by summarising the story. This is not for you either. This is for me, for my own sanity and clarity of thought which has been somewhat muddied in the reading process. And by muddied I mean dirtied and sluggish with the consistency of a KFC Krushem (TM).

    House of Leaves is a book about a house. The house has unexpected spatial characteristics- it is larger on the inside than it is on the outside. The spatial characteristics are discovered and investigated by the owners of the house and their friends. They film these investigations. These investigations are then compiled into a series of short films called The Navidson Record. The Navidson Record becomes cult viewing and copies of ever-decreasing quality circulate amongst academics, the media and stoned students.

    A blind man named Zampano attempts to assess the quality and verity of The Navidson Record including the films and the vast body of white and grey literature generated by academics in order to clarify once and for all if the film was the real deal or one of the most elaborate hoaxes of the 20th century. Zampano dies before completing his magnum opus and the disordered, arbitrary scattered notes and fragments of his work are discovered by his next door neighbour, a drug-hoover named Lude. Lude calls in his friend Johnny Truant (JT).

    JT develops a fixation with the Navidson Record and attempts to complete and order Zampano’s life work in order to draw his own conclusions about what actually happened in the house on Ash Tree Lane. Truant himself who may or may not be the final architect of the work which forms the core of the published version of House of Leaves begins to suffer a mental breakdown. JT's story runs concurrently with the Navidson Record but is only ever presented as a series of footnotes. The result of this is unclear but one way or another, at the hands of a series of anonymous editors (-Ed) the book makes its way into circulation.

    Is this still for you?

    Maybe.

    The problem (interpret the use of the word problem here as being either good or bad depending on your own perspective) with House of Leaves is that while the words printed inside the pages (leaves) are telling you one thing and sending your thoughts in one direction, the actual layout, font, size and colour of the text are sending out a whole other set of messages. Which ones do you listen to? I think you’re supposed to pay attention to both but this may cause your cerebral cortex to cleave in two so this is a choice that you make early on, and at your own risk.

    As a work in its own right, and not just as a story or series of conjoined narratives, House of Leaves will probably mean different things to different people. I was very interested in the Navidson Record and the presentation of a multi dimensional qualitative space. You might be more interested in exactly which screws are coming loose in JT’s brain or what motivated Zampano in the first place. Much like the choices faced by the people exploring the inner corridors of the house, you will be forced to pick your own path through the book and once you have done that there is no turning back or you will have to start from scratch.

    Is this the end of the review? Yes. I cannot break this down further in constructive sentences and the brain dribble is now getting into the cracks between the keyboard. I can however, much like Zampano and his snippets, notes and scribbles, provide a non-linear collection of random thoughts and observations which might act like the mythical skein to help you weave your own way through this labyrinthine text... what you do when you reach the Minotaur at the centre is entirely up to you:

    1. Symbols and code: Allegedly there are a lot of hidden codes within this book. These might be numerological, symbolic, visual or in any other semantic form you can think of. The internet is awash with web pages and forums dedicated to HoL and the discussion of coded meanings. Seek them if you will, but don’t expect them to actually clarify anything. One code I did pick up on was the use of random symbols, frequently those used in ground to air visual communication – these were used instead of a numeric reference system for the footnotes. Did they have any direct bearing on the text? Dunno. The one that really did baffle me was the insouciant and sneaky  symbol which appeared for no fathomable reason at the bottom right-hand of page 97.

    2. Capitalisation: Adjectives with capital letters where no capital letters are required by the dictates of English Grammar. Similarly deliberate mis-spellings. Go figure.

    3. Inversion: Inverting of main text and footnotes so that the main text becomes a foot note and vice versa. Is this symbolic of the main text becoming a sub text for something greater?

    4. Colour: The significance of the word house highlighted in blue wherever it is mentioned. This remains true for the cover, footnotes, end notes, index, appendices and publication information. Blue can confer the idea of calmness, a natural environment or stability. It can also confer the notion of authority and power. It is a primary colour and therefore is at the root of many other colours and could be interpreted as a starting point. It can represent sky and water, two elements which are necessary to human survival. But blue can also mean depression and coldness. So what does it mean in the context of House of Leaves? Everything, nothing, something. I can offer no conclusions here and it is never explained.

    5. Displacement of objects. At one point Karen Navidson's children tell her that all of her Feng Shui artefacts have vanished from the house. I'm not a believer in Feng Shui but I also believe that anyone who believes that a crystal bullfrog or a well placed water spout can cancel out the possible malevolent evil of a room with more dimensions than a 3D hologram is possibly a little crackers anyway. Note, if you will that the exact list of missing objects in the exact same order is recited in the interview with Hunter S. Thompson on p363. He used them as missiles rather than sticking to their traditional Feng Shui purpose. What does this all mean? No idea. Objects are disappearing through the house and moving into different spaces within the book. Go figure.

    I could go on. And I will probably more than you would like , but for now this will have to suffice as I need to pop out and get some crazy glue with which to stick my cloven grey matter back together.

  • Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
    Aug 06, 2012

    4.5/5 stars!

    I plan to do a video review of this soon, so look forward to that :)

  • April
    Nov 08, 2012

    *this will not follow the kind of reviews I usually do, so be prepared for a conglomerate of quotes, self-taken photos and annoying html text. Also this is quite long.

    All right so not only was I completely mind-blown by this book, I was also overjoyed with the fact that I actually had an excuse to use my page markers! (I had orange for quotes, pink for ideas/concepts/points in story, green for layout/codes and yellow for footnotes and references as I'm sure you all wanted t

    *this will not follow the kind of reviews I usually do, so be prepared for a conglomerate of quotes, self-taken photos and annoying html text. Also this is quite long.

    All right so not only was I completely mind-blown by this book, I was also overjoyed with the fact that I actually had an excuse to use my page markers! (I had orange for quotes, pink for ideas/concepts/points in story, green for layout/codes and yellow for footnotes and references as I'm sure you all wanted to know). Of course in this book it was

    to do so, as I'm not sure where I'd be now without them.

    First off,

    “˙ɯɐǝɹɔs uǝʌǝ oʇ ǝɯıʇ ǝʌɐɥ ʇ’uoʍ noʎ – ʞooq sıɥʇ ɟo pıɹ ƃuıʇʇǝƃ ǝq plnoɥs llǝɥ sɐ ǝɹns noʎ – sɯɹɐ ɹnoʎ dn ƃuıƃuılɟ ǝq ʇsɐǝl ʎɹǝʌ ǝɥʇ ʇɐ plnoɥs noʎ 'ƃuıuunɹ ǝq plnoɥs noʎ 'ƃuıʌoɯ ǝq plnoɥs noʎ ʇɐɥʇ ssǝɔoɹd uǝʌǝ oʇ ǝɯıʇ ǝʌɐɥ noʎ ǝɹoɟǝq ǝsnɐɔǝq 'ɹǝʇʇɐɯ ʇ’usǝop lıɐʇǝp ɹɐlnɔıʇɹɐd ʇɐɥʇ 'ʎɹɹoʍ ʇ’uop '¿slıɐu ʎǝɥʇ ǝɹɐ ɹo ɥʇǝǝʇ s’ʇı ɥʇıʍ ɹɐlnƃnɾ ɹnoʎ qɐʇs llıʍ ʇı sǝɯıʇ ʎuɐɯ ʍoɥ 'noʎ ʇıɥ ɐuuoƃ s’ʇı pɹɐɥ ʍoɥ 'uǝddɐɥ llıʍ ʇı ʇsɐɟ ʍoɥ ǝuıƃɐɯı oʇ ʎɹʇ ǝlɐɥxǝ oʇ ʇɹɐʇs noʎ sɐ ǝɯıʇ sıɥʇ ʎluO ˙ǝuo ɹǝdǝǝp uǝʌǝ puɐ ǝʞɐʇ pɐǝɥɐ oפ ˙ɥʇɐǝɹq dǝǝp ɐ ǝʞɐʇ ʍoN ˙ǝɹǝɥ sǝʎǝ ɹnoʎ dǝǝʞ ˙ʞool ʇ’uop ʇnq ˙ʇuǝɯoɯ sıɥʇ ʇɐ ʇɥƃıɹ ˙sı ʇı ǝɹǝɥʍ s’ʇɐɥ┴ ˙punos ʇnoɥʇıʍ sʇǝʞɔod ǝsoɥʇ puıℲ ˙ǝɔuǝlıs sɐ ʇı ɹɐǝɥ ʎluo uɐɔ noʎ ʇɐɥʇ ʇɔɐɟ uı ʇǝınb os 'noʎ uo uı ƃuısolɔ ʎlʇǝınb sı ƃuıɥʇǝɯos 'ʇı ǝǝs ʇ’uɐɔ noʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ ʇɥƃıɹ ʇnq 'noʎ ɟo ʇuoɹɟ uı uǝʌǝ ǝqʎɐɯ 'noʎ ɟo ǝpıs ǝɥʇ oʇ ǝqʎɐɯ 'noʎ puıɥǝq ǝqʎɐɯ 'uoısıʌ lɐɹǝɥdıɹǝd ɹnoʎ puoʎǝq ʇsnɾ ǝuıƃɐɯı ʍoN ˙ǝƃɐd sıɥʇ ɟo ɹǝʇǝɯıɹǝd ǝɥʇ ʇsɐd ɹǝpuɐʍ sǝʎǝ ɹnoʎ ʇǝl ʇ’uop op noʎ ɹǝʌǝʇɐɥʍ puɐ 'spɹoʍ ǝsǝɥʇ uo snɔoɟ :sıɥʇ ʎɹʇ ɐǝpı ɹǝʇʇǝq ɐ ʇǝƃ o┴”

    I'm not going to try and explain the plot, nor am I going to try to explain the story because that is something you simply

    in full length or detail. I will only say that if you detest unanswered questions, the beginning quote is right:

    To put this in

    basic terms, the plot surrounds a man named Johnny Truant

    a seemingly normal, attractive young man working at a tattoo parlour. He serves as one part of the dual-narrative of this story. He is basically informed of the passing of a blind man called Zampanò who lives in the same apartment building as his friend Lude. Following this, he comes across a trunk of Zampanò's notes and papers about a movie called

    a documentary about a family moving into a peculiar house on Ash Tree Lane. After moving in, Navidson's family discover a

    that has suddenly appeared and seems to defy the laws of physics (it's bigger on the inside). See? Not

    confusing. Except this Navidson record is told in extreme detail by Zampanò -- a

    man, remember -- who includes tons upon tons of individual interpretations, theories and all sorts provided by various critics serving as the intellectual perspective of this

    documentary. It shows all sorts of characters grips on reality turn tenuous and details their gradual descent into madness with sometimes dire consequences. Except for one thing:

    And I don't just mean in a fictitious manner (i.e it's a book, Sherlock) it doesn't exist in the story itself. Johnny even says that these critics and celebrities (such as King, Kubrick, Rice...) have never spoke with Zampanò and none have ever heard of such a document. Supposedly an extravagant amount of evidence exists (footnotes. footnotes.

    ) that suggests it's a hoax when in fact it was never filmed to begin with. The specificity for me enhanced the psychologically disturbing question I was asking myself throughout reading HOL: what is real and what isn't?

    [XXXXXXXXXXX

    XXXXXXXXXX]

    is like

    . A book within a book wiThin a book and so on. It needs patience, I'll admit. For some people tHe readIng Style (exotic text, jumBled notes, 3446989465854 fOOtnotes, kooKy passage order, etc) Will become agItating. I personaLLy didn't find it necessarily

    to read, just a little annoying Having to turn it Around to read upside dowN as well as diaGonally (an excEssive amount of times, too, oh Yes). That bOok was atrocioUsly heavy!

    This book is all sorts of twists and turns. There are codes you can decipher, heaps upon heaps of symbolisms accompanied by an unending sense of unknowing; you are left almost bleeding for answers and trust me you

    It's a labyrinth (and labyrinth is a word you will come across or consider many times when you read this book); once you begin, you cannot fathom an escape.

    .epacse na mohtaf tonnac uoy ,nigeb uoy ecno ;)koob siht daer uoy nehw semit ynam redisnoc ro ssorca emoc lliw uoy drow a si htnirybal dna( htnirybal a s'tI .meht dnif ot gniog ton era uoy em tsurt dna srewsna rof gnideelb tfel tsomla era uoy ;gniwonknu fo esnes gnidnenu tsomla na yb deinapmocca smsilobmys fo spaeh nopu spaeh ,rehpiced nac uoy sedoc era erehT .snrut dna stsiwt fo stros lla si koob sihT

    Due to the books ambiguity, a forum dedicated especially for discussing and sharing opinions has existed online since around 2000 or 2001. It's the

    category in MZD's forums. Subsequently after completing HOL I signed up for it easily because although I would love to share the (albeit minimal) amount of codes I actually did manage to decipher here on GR, I wouldn't want to spoil anything for people about to read it first-hand.

    I will sum up this book by simply saying:

  • Wil Wheaton
    Dec 28, 2012

    If you want a really good, insightful review of House of Leaves (that I didn't write), go

    If you want to read mine, here you go:

    House of Leaves isn't one of those tidy little things that holds your hand and wipes your bottom and tells you that you're special. It makes you work, and what you get out of it depends largely on how much work you're willing to do. House of Leaves is difficult at times, incredibly complex, occasionally pretentious, and

    If you want a really good, insightful review of House of Leaves (that I didn't write), go

    If you want to read mine, here you go:

    House of Leaves isn't one of those tidy little things that holds your hand and wipes your bottom and tells you that you're special. It makes you work, and what you get out of it depends largely on how much work you're willing to do. House of Leaves is difficult at times, incredibly complex, occasionally pretentious, and

    .

    When I finished it, I thought I was unsatisfied with

    , but it

    in me long after I closed the book. I could not stop thinking about the characters, the puzzles, my various theories about the nature of the story and

    Here's the thing about House of Leaves: you can enjoy it simply as a horrifying story that could possibly be true. You could enjoy it as a love story on a number of different levels. You can enjoy it as a whole bunch of puzzles and codes and ciphers. You can enjoy it as a unique reading experience that will make you fall back in love with actual paper books.

    But however you choose to enjoy it, you've got to just commit to it. Let the book's reality capture you, and ride it out until you finish the book. When you're done, you'll probably find that the House has taken up some space inside you, and you'll wonder if the nightmares will actually come, assuming they haven't already.

    You'll go back to the beginning, and you'll reread sections large and small. You'll take a magnifying glass to the pictures and you'll spend a

    time reading message boards that haven't been updated since 2004. You'll grab that copy of

    's

    that you bought before you knew House of Leaves existed, and you'll listen to it again in an entirely new way.

    You'll discover that you live at the end of a five and a half minute hallway.

    ...

    Or maybe you won't. Maybe it won't live in you the way it lives in me... but it's worth your time to find out.